Made in Alaska: Bella Boutique
ANCHORAGE - For artists, working a full-time job can take away from what they really love to do. That's not the case for Annie Ciszak Pazar. She had to move her studio to her store Bella Boutique after a fire in her home and it all worked out for the best.
"It's cool to have the studio here in the shop in that customers can come in, I have the materials here, we can discuss a custom piece or sometimes I can do it while they wait. I tell them, 'go next door, grab a cup of coffee, come back in 10 minutes,'" said Pazar.
She didn't start out as a jewelry maker but took to it like moth to a flame.
"When you go to school for art you have to figure out how to make that work, whether you become a teacher or an artist. I just fell in love with it. It's very cool to see girls wielding torches and hammering things. It's very empowering," said Pazar.
In addition to running Bella Boutique, she also has her own line of jewelry: Annie's Arts & Follies. She does custom pieces, like a teacup ring with a small golden spoon in it, but it's earrings that keep her busy.
"The last time I cut tags I did 900 and that lasted two months. There's a lot of earrings going out into the world," she laughed.
She sells her earrings wholesale and is now stocking 90 stores around the country.
Her jewelry is only a small part of the boutique, which she stocks with other handmade goods.
"The goal is to give the little guy a leg up. It's really hard to get out there and do this professionally. It takes a lot of time. So this way you don't have to do it professionally, you don't have to be that stay-at-home person doing it as a hobby. This way it's an outlet for both kinds of people."
Being the only employee, Annie doesn't get a lot of time off. That doesn't seem to matter, though, because even when she's at work she's doing what she loves.